Episode 12

by Rose Bridges,

How would you rate episode 12 of
ClassicaLoid ?

My favorite ClassicaLoid episodes are those with a mix of comedy and drama. "J.S. Bach" ultimately leans pretty hard on the jokes and the Musik battles, but what drama it sprinkles in works more to lay the groundwork for theme than the overall plot.

Despite the "J.S. Bach" title, the episode is less centered on Bach than you might expect. A huge chunk of the plot comes from Beethoven, Mozart and Schubert attempting to get jobs to pay their rent. Schubert goes the more traditional route in seeking employment, but the others have their eyes on a bigger prize. Beethoven and Mozart want to be rock stars, so they audition for positions with the "Arkhe Corp" label, which would seem to signal Bach's entrance since "JSB" is the lead producer there.

However, Bach seems to be neglecting his professional duties that day—for once. He takes a visit to Kanae's mansion and talks to her instead, while musing over the organ that he used to play. Bach laments that music is so business-reliant, wishing it to be free for pure artistic expression. Kanae describes how the other Classicaloids are free in this mansion to make music in their own way, and she admits to enjoying their presence, even if it's difficult to keep them in line. Bach concludes that she's tough while still letting them have fun, which might not be how the Classicaloids living there would characterize their situation, but it's fair considering Kanae's more recent developments.

Bach concludes that perhaps the mansion is an appropriate place for Kanae to live. While his conversation with Kanae humanized him, this development also feels sudden. Bach has entirely dedicated himself to uniting the Classicaloids under his wing so far, but he decides to abandon this goal after just one visit and conversation? If he was so worried about the environment there, why didn't he visit sooner? How does this jive with his goal to, as his assistant puts it, "bring all the Classicaloids to a complete state"?

I'm guessing the only place this can go is Bach (and Tchaikovsky and Bądarzewska) coming to live at the mansion with them eventually. That's been the show's structure so far for introducing characters and may be its ultimate goal. This episode also references Bach's history with the house, making mention of Kanae's father, who created the Classicaloids. If Bach had lived there in the past though, why was he so suspicious in the first place? The plotting in this episode is a little sloppy. It could improve depending on where Bach's arc goes, but right now there are too many holes to fill.

The plot has never been ClassicaLoid's main draw, though. Luckily, there's plenty of other fun to be had. Beethoven and Mozart mess up their auditions, with Beethoven's judges being puzzled by his name and demeanor. Mozart tries to be an idol, but rebels against his dancing coach and stylists. Both these experiences trigger their Musik, and in Mozart's case, he remembers a real part of his history: his struggles with debt. Mozart was in enough debt that he died a pauper, in spite of his international fame.

The Musik unleashes terror in the building, summoning Bach. This leads to an epic battle between the two rogue Classicaloids and Bach, whose power neutralizes theirs. Beethoven and Mozart's Musik are repeats, but this is the first time I remember this version of Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor. It's my favorite Musik theme yet, a funk-rock variation where the Bach piece is a background organ groove. It's a not a pipe organ, but it's a nod to the original instrumentation—while creating a new song.

The battle is one of the coolest in the series so far, making it clear how insurmountable Bach's powers are. It's a good thing he's in a less hostile position now, and regardless of his feelings toward the Classicaloids overall, at least he's okay with them living with Kanae. There's still a lot left hanging with regards to Bach's less-savory powers though, like his mid-control abilities over Tchaik and Bada. Most puzzling are the plot holes in Bach's motives. I hope ClassicaLoid can clear that up soon.

What redeems this episode for me is the humor, especially the knocks at Sousuke. His fanboyism is on full display this week, as he freaks out over getting Tchaik and Bada's e-mail addresses. The themes are also strong, as Bach and Kanae's conversation outlines the show's major questions. Is commercial pop music as meaningful as classical music? Is it really less "serious" or "thoughtful"? What is the barometer for the value of music? As ClassicaLoid's composers encounter modern types of music, these questions help make the show meaningful.

The content of this episode would rank it amongst the strongest ClassicaLoid has produced so far, but the way its plot points are stitched together results in some struggle.

Rating: B+

ClassicaLoid is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

Rose loves Bach's "Magnificat" at Christmastime. Follow her on her media blog Rose's Turn, and on Twitter.

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